Greece detains Ukrainian convicted in Lithuania's 1991 crackdown case – officials

  • 2021-10-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Greek officials have detained Alexander Radkevich, a Ukrainian citizen convicted by a Lithuanian court in the January 1991 Soviet crackdown case, Lithuanian officials confirmed to BNS on Wednesday. 

"Radkevich has been detained. This has been confirmed to us by the Lithuanian ambassador in Athens who received the information from the Greek police," Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said. 

Police Commissioner General Renatas Pozela told BNS that Radkevich had been detained in Greece back in mid-September, but it took time to ascertain his identity.  

"Now we have a confirmed identity", he said.

Greece's court has yet to decide on whether to hand Radkevich over to Lithuania, according to the police chief.

Justice Minister Evelina Dobrovolska said later on Wednesday that Vilnius District Court has issued a European Arrest Warrant against Radkevich and submitted it to Greece, "in accordance with national and EU regulations".

Greece will decide whether or not to surrender the Ukrainian citizen to Lithuania "based on the provisions of the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant", the minister said in a comment. 

"Under the European Arrest Warrant, this is a judicial procedure unlike extradition," she said. "This means that politicians and ministries do not take decisions on this matter." 

"The maximum timeframe for a decision is 90 days, plus 10 days for a practical surrender. If Greece agrees to surrender [Radkevich] to Lithuania, the person will be picked up by the Public Security Service and transferred to a detention facility," the minister added. 

Radkevich is one of 67 people handed prison sentences in the so-called January 13 case. 

However, the majority of them were convicted in absentia as Russia and Belarus refused to extradite them.

Radkevich was among several convicts who unsuccessfully tried to appeal the Court of Appeal's judgement to the Lithuanian Supreme Court this autumn. The latter court did not accept the appeal.

Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were wounded when the Soviet troops stormed the TV Tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in Vilnius in the early hours of January 13, 1991.

The Soviet Union used military force in its attempt to remove the legitimate government of Lithuania which declared independence on March 11, 1990.